Magnificent Mountain Sunset

Sangre Mountain Sunset

I wasn’t aware of the spectacular sunset the night before until the golden glow was streaming through the curtains. By then there was no time to get my camera ready and get to a good overlook. As I was wrapping up the day’s activities yesterday I noticed that the cloud situation was very similar to the conditions the day before so I decided I would get out ahead of it and try to get some nice sunset images.

I was at the overlook to the Sangre de Cristo Range about 15 minutes before sunset, giving me time to fiddle with my camera. I eventually settled on manual mode with a 320th of a second and F7.1 for an aperture at ISO 200. From that point I figured I could just fiddle with the ISO as the sun descended behind the distant mountains.

Sangre Mountain Sunset

Soon the sun was low enough to start shooting and as luck would have it the sun at this time of year was right in the middle of the rugged range to the southwest. I roamed up and down the overlook looking for the best angles on the range below. There is a nice valley with some old mining operations still present while another angle has a mountain in the foreground. At times it was best to incorporate the valley while other times shooting beside the mountain looked better.

Unfortunately this sunset didn’t reach the glory of the previous night, but I was still enjoying the activity. Finally I decided to get back in the truck and drive to another spot but on the way I noticed the sky lit up behind the mine structure behind me. So I dialed in my exposure on that scene and while I was shooting a couple of mule deer wandered onto my scene. And I have to say that was the most delightful shooting of the entire afternoon.

I hope you enjoy the pictures 🙂

 

Sunset Deer

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Cold Morning and a Panorama

Red-tailed Hawk in Flight

Cold, gloomy and windy… kind of like every morning these days. I was the first to reach the trailhead so I had high hopes of spotting some wildlife. I had seen a few herds of deer on my way but they were all grazing in the dark shadows of the trees, far too little light and scenery for a nice picture so I didn’t want to delay my arrival at the trailhead. As I neared the summit I heard the signature screech of the red-tailed hawk. I was in the trees so I couldn’t see him but I readied my camera for a bird in flight image just in case. A 1600th of a second shutter speed, F5.6 and the ISO on auto. Amazingly he did float into view and I was able to snap a couple of sharp images. Unfortunately I had forgotten to adjust the exposure compensation and underexposed the image about a stop. With Photoshop and Topaz DeNoise and GigaPixel however, I was able to make a good enough image for Instagram!

Snow covered Collegiate Peaks Colorado

As I cleared the forest I noticed a bit of morning light falling on the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Range and hoped that it would still be so when I reached the overlook. It was not to be, but by that time the band of light shining through the dense clouds to the east was shining on the Collegiate Peaks, far in the distance to the west. As a single image from that distance it wasn’t a real exciting view so I decided to try a panorama. I had left my tripod in the truck so all I had was my monopod to steady the camera, not the ideal situation for a panorama… but I tried it anyway.

I have Custom Function C2 set up for panorama shooting so I dialed in the settings and fired off a test shot. A little underexposed so I increased my ISO from 100 to 200 which turned out to be just about right, my histogram showed data all the way across the spectrum. So I was ready, a 320th of a second at F7.1 for this shot. I might ordinarily shoot with F11 for better depth of field but these mountains were so far away that most everything was going to be beyond infinity anyway so F7.1 was about right for the light and ISO 200.

Snow covered Collegiate Peaks Colorado

Seven horizontal images were required to span the scene so my original is something like 111 inches across! I cut that down to 60 inches for the upload to my website in order to comply with the size constraint of the server!

Well anyway, it was a pretty good morning, got some good exercise, some valuable time of solitude in nature and the screech of the red-tail is always a treat! I’m hoping for a more extensive week though, a trip up to Waterton to see the bighorn sheep may be in the cards if all goes right 🙂

 

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

 

The Wilderness Never Disappoints

Coyote on the Hunt

I was surprised on this unusually warm sunny November day in the high country that I had the entire mountain to myself. I was a bit late getting started and I expected a pretty good crowd at the trailhead, but was happy to see that I was the only one there. A short distance into my hike I detected movement out of the corner of my eye… a coyote hunting in the dry mountain grass! I quick grabbed a capture of him before he spotted me, knowing that the second he was aware of my presence he would be well on his way over the top of the ridge.

Sure enough, the instant I raised my camera the coyote knew I was there and began trotting off, wanting to get out of sight as quickly as possible. Fortunately for me the wily fellow took time out from his leisurely trot to stop and look back at me a couple of times before he vanished over the hill. I was especially lucky that he stopped right in front of this magnificent mountain vista to pose with the snow capped Sangre de Cristo in the background 🙂 Once over the hill I made no attempt to pursue him, I try to cause as little distress as possible to the critters I find along my way.

Coyote on the Hunt

I did however have one more piece of  good luck on the trail, a beautiful buck mule deer crossed paths with me and stopped to peer at me from behind a pine tree. He didn’t linger long, but I had enough time to fire off this shot of him (below) as he looked me in the eye. Eventually he wandered off into the dense forest and out of sight.

For a second as I cleared the summit I thought I was about to be eaten by a wolf… The wolfish looking beast was running up the trail right at me, there was nothing I could do but just wait to see what he was going to do. As he got closer I could see a collar and this was just one very happy and very large dog out for a glorious morning in the mountains. Soon he was trotting along beside me in the direction of his master who soon appeared before me 🙂

The rest of my hike was just a nice walk in the high country, satisfied that I had gotten to capture a couple of nice images to document the day.Stay tuned though, I’m hoping for a more extensive photo adventure in Eleven Mile Canyon tomorrow morning!

Beautiful Buck Mule Deer

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Layers Upon Layers

layers of Fog on the Sangre

Another awesome weather day in the high country. I was totally not expecting this… it appeared that I was just in for a cloudy dreary early winter morning in the mountains, not that a cloudy day in the mountains isn’t a thing to look forward to! But as I rounded the first turn on the way to my trailhead I quickly became aware that the day was going to be much more than I thought! Some of the fog from yesterday lingered in the valleys between the layers of mountains building up the the magnificent Sangre de Cristo Range in the distance, a perfect recipe for awesome landscape pictures!

I caught myself driving a bit faster along the winding road to the overlook where I knew I would stop for the photo session. Finally I arrived at my destination and the awesome layered effect was still in effect. I set my camera for landscape images in low light and took a couple of test shots. The exposures looked good so I continued until I was satisfied that the scene was captured. Then I continued on to the second overlook at a higher elevation a bit further to the south and repeated the process.

layers of Fog on the Sangre

Finally I was ready for my hike to the top of the ridge where I captured yet another angle of the beautiful mountains. I was hoping to see a few deer today, but they were nowhere to be found. Oh well… there is much to be said for a quiet hike in the high country of the Pike National Forest! A red-tail hawk soared high above me, well out of camera range, but a hawk is always a good omen 🙂

The biggest news of the day is that my favorite place for coffee, the Gold Camp Bakery is once again open following a closure of several weeks for upgrades and remodeling. Nothing like an order of biscuits and gravy to reward one’s self for a good day of photography 🙂

 

layers of Fog on the Sangre

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

The Gathering Storm

Fog in the Valley

One sure sign of approaching weather is a massive fog bank filling the Arkansas River Valley at the base of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range of Colorado. I never miss a chance to photograph this beautiful weather phenomenon and this day was no different. Each morning over coffee I peer out my front window down the valley towards the Sangre range to see what kind of day is going to develop. I knew from the forecast that weather was coming in and from my limited view I could see that I had better grab my camera and hit the road!

Fog in the Valley

This particular morning was so fantastic that I had to make two passes just to take it all in. There was a great view of the action from my usual vista point along Highway 67 but I knew that I was also going to have to drive on up to Victor where at the mine entrance there would be a view from higher up. Some days I call it good at that point and go on in to the Gold Camp Bakery for coffee, but on this day another pass was going to be necessary in order to catch the panorama available from the overlook on the Cripple Creek side. Eventually I was confident that I had adequately captured the magnificent scene and that breakfast was well deserved!

The impending snowstorm never really developed though, a few flakes lazily drifting out of the alpine air was all we got for this round but I’m sure that it won’t be long and we will be experiencing a lot more winter white!

 

Fog in the Valley

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

First Snow on the Sangre de Cristo

First Snow on the Sangres

The weather report showed a completely average morning today… sun shining, a little chilly… but generally a nice autumn mountain morning. It was a struggle to psyche myself up to take my camera out in such an average morning… but I did it. As usual on the ride to the trailhead I took a glance  toward the Sangre de Cristo range expecting to see the same smoke obscured view that we’ve been seeing all summer. Much to my surprise the magnificent range has received a blanket of new snow and the air was as crisp and clear over the Arkansas Valley as it ever has been!

First Snow on the Sangres

I drove a little faster knowing I was going to be treated to a stunning mountain vista at the top of the ridge. And indeed it was, I stopped for a good half hour to make sure the camera had gathered it all in 🙂 I also took a quick jaunt through the woods hoping for an elk herd on the other side, but I guess all the great beasts were all hiding from the wind in the tranquil valley below.

First Snow on the Sangres and Mine Country

Quick trip up Victor Pass to view Pikes Peak wasn’t as interesting… there was little snow on the massive peak and no clouds to create an interesting picture. However the view from there in the other direction was something to behold… the old historic mines against the fresh snow of the Sangre de Cristo was incredible. And I have to say I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen anyone capture this particular view of the  area!

Confident that I had enough imagery to make a good story for today, I decided upon the Phantom Canyon Coffee Shop for a nice cup of coffee and an apple fritter. This may well be my favorite coffee shop, and a place I’ll be spending some time out of the cold this winter! The atmosphere is great, the coffee even better and the barista friendly and helpful. If you can get to Victor Colorado, I recommend you stop in!

First Snow on the SangresAs always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Deer in the Gold

Mule Deer in the Rocky Mountian Autumn

It was a beautiful morning for a hike… a crisp, clear mountain autumn morning. The leaves are in peak color on the south face of Pikes Peak, the wildlife are starting to come out from their refuge from the summer heat deep in the shade of the dense pine forest and the air is finally clearing of the terrible smoke from the summer’s fires.

Saw a couple of doe mule deer grazing and enjoying the pleasant morning and a lot of golden leaves to

Autumn on Pikes Peak and Mine Country

photograph. On my return down the mountainside I looked back and spotted a lone deer shining in the sun in the golden canopy. I captured a number of images of the deer, including some zooms with my 400mm lens, but the one of the deer in the distance with just 100mm of magnification is my favorite!

I’ve  been eyeing one of the gold mines for a picture but the leaves on that side of the mountain have yet to change color. It was also a great morning to stop and have some biscuits and gravy at my favorite place, the Gold Camp Bakery. I was tempted to add a cinnamon roll to that but I decided to save the calories for another day 😦

Some days I get pictures that are nice to look at, but not really up to snuff to put on my website for sale as prints… but today a got a few that I’m putting up! I hope you enjoy them 🙂

Mule Deer in the Rocky Mountian Autumn

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Finally Some Snow

Snow and Fall Colors on Pikes Peak

Didn’t know what to expect when I rounded the corner and climbed up over Victor Pass, 10,200 feet this morning. I was hoping for some lingering fog or storm clouds from yesterday’s precipitation but I was delighted to be greeted by the season’s first significant snow on the south face of Pikes Peak 🙂 The colors are nearing their peak intensity and the white of the snow really set the scene off!

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to take it all in with the 400mm lens on so I switched to my trusty 24-105L with the polarizer attached. Once I took off my sunglasses I knew the polarizer was the right choice, it’s immediately apparent in the clouds the dramatic effect that polarization has in just the right light. I dialed the ISO down to 100 and selected a 320th of a second for the shutter speed. The camera chose F5.6

Snow and Fall Colors on Pikes Peak

which seemed good enough for the mountain which was miles in the distance. However in retrospect I should have probably gone with F8 and ISO 200. Now I know some photographers will think I should have used a slower shutter speed but in my experience up here on these high passes, the wind is always blowing. I don’t like blurry clouds and the leaves fluttering in the wind also just look blurry if your shutter speed is too low. Regardless of the aperture I chose, I’m happy with the pictures anyway!

I had to hike around a bit to get all the good angles while avoiding power lines and other obstructions but by the time storm clouds had completely obliterated the scene I was sure I had what I wanted. And I see more blue on the radar for this afternoon so tomorrow morning I should get another good opportunity to photograph another layer of our signature Colorado snow 🙂

Snow and Fall Colors on Pikes Peak

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Rocky Mountain National Park 2021

Limited success on our first day in the park… We decided to go in the west side this year and finally reached the entrance at about 9:30 a.m. It was a bit discouraging to see all the fire damage but signs of recovery are already visible!

Not too far in we came across the tail end of a huge herd of elk on their way into the high country and got a couple of nice pictures before they vanished. At Poudre Lake we saw a lone cow moose resting in the tall grass, too far away for pictures. As we rose high onto Trail Ridge the fog thickened to the point where we could barely see. However not too far past the visitor center it cleared up and I got some beautiful mountain pictures

High hopes for a great day in Moraine Park were dashed when we discovered that it is impossible to upgrade your entry pass to include the Bear Lake section which is where all the good stuff is. So all we could do was wait until 6:00 p.m. for general entry to open. We drove around to the locations we could and saw a couple of lone bull elk and one sleeping bull moose.

Layton we discovered that the elk in Moraine Park were waion the inaccessible side, too far away for pictures. Luckily there was one straggler near the road on the way to the campground and he posed for some pictures.

We are hoping for a better day today, we found that if we get in before 5:00 a.m. we can go right to Moraine Park without a pass. We might also try Sprague Lake if we don’t have any luck at the Meadows.

How to Photograph Mountain Goats on Mt. Evans Colorado

I’ve had a few people ask me how I got the mountain goat pictures on Mt. Evans so I thought it might be worth a blog post to explain how to plan a successful photo trip to one of the closest and most accessible fourteeners in the Colorado Front Range!

Beautiful Mount Evans Colorado

Well, the first obstacle you must overcome is the getting there. Ever since the onset of the Covid virus a timed entry ticket is required for entry. To acquire one of these go to the website recreation.gov and set up an account. It’s a fairly easy process and if you like to visit the parks you are going to want one eventually. The site lets you make reservations at all the national parks and many other interesting locations that now require the timed entry permits. For Mount Evans I recommend the 8:00-10:00 a.m. time slot for a couple of reasons, the first being it is the best arrival time to catch the animals when they are active, the second being it allows you the most time on the summit before the inevitable inclement weather sets in. Once you successfully create your reservation you will be given the opportunity to download the PDF ticket which you can print or save on your phone. I recommend doing both, either method is acceptable at the entry kiosk so if you happen to lose your printed version hopefully you will still have your phone!

Mountain Goats on Mount Evans

There are several options when choosing your ticket as there are a number of attractions on the way to the summit, including the Goliath Interpretive Park and the Summit Lake trailhead. The most expensive ticket of course is going to be the one that provides access to all the attractions including the summit area.

There are two routes to the mountain, one from the Evergreen side and another from the Idaho Springs side over old Squaw Pass Road, now known as Highway 103. Take 103 all the way to it’s summit where you will arrive at Echo Lake and the junction with Highway 5 which is Mount Evans Road and the access point to the summit. A short distance up the road  is the ranger station where you will have to present your timed entry ticket. I was told to leave my printed ticket on the dash board throughout my visit.

Marmot on Mount Evans

Here is where the fun begins, the long narrow winding road, mostly without guardrails, that takes you to the summit! Drive carefully, there may be wildlife on the road and it can be a trick to negotiate oncoming traffic both on the way up and the way down. Watch for the mountain goats and bighorn sheep as you ascend the scenic mountain, they don’t spend the night at the summit so as the day warms they can be seen making their way up the mountainside to the summit where they enjoy spending their days.

Hopefully by the time you reach the summit parking lot the wild goats will be there as well… if not you can take the rugged half mile trail to the actual summit and take in the fantastic 360 degree view including the Mount of the Holy Cross and other fourteeners including Gray’s and Torrey’s Peaks. Oh, I forgot to mention, you will want to include clothing on this trip that will cover anything from summer to winter weather! On my recent trip the the sun was shining with about 75 degree temps at Evergreen and on the summit the wind was blowing about 40mph with parkas and winter head gear required!

To actually acquire good photographs of the animals you are going to want a good camera with the capability of manual settings and  a telephoto lens of at least 200mm. This allows you to shoot away from a distance without disturbing the animals. I used my 100-400mm lens and found it to be about right. Of course you can photograph the closer animals with a phone, they are basically unafraid of people

Mountain Goats on Mount Evansand many walk right up to them, way too close for their own safety. Keep in mind that these are wild animals and even though they tolerate people they occasionally feel threatened and may attack. Trust me, you do not want to be attacked by a mountain goat… they can really mess you up!

 

To get the best capture you are going to want to have a good understanding of how to set the exposure on your camera. The goats are bright white and the sky in the morning is going to be bright blue, a combination that is going to wreak havoc with your camera’s metering system. I found when the goats were on top of the rocks with the sky in the background I was dialing in at least +1 to +2 stops of exposure compensation (EC). Later on as we descended the mountain +.3 EC was better for photographing the darker bighorn sheep against the rocks.

Most afternoons severe weather is going to be moving in over the high peaks including heavy rain and lightning. By 2:00 p.m. your day on the summit is most likely going to be over and you should be on your way down. Once the lightning starts you don’t want to be standing outside, it is much safer inside your vehicle. One top of the mountain your chance of getting struck by lightning go from one in a million to highly likely.

A visit to the beautiful mountain towns of Georgetown, Idaho Springs and Evergreen is a great way to spend an afternoon, taking in some lunch, a micro brew and the many gift shops!

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As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Bighorn Sheep on Mount Evans